Another annoying change Covered California made was adding little pop-up windows asking for more information called One More Thing. After submitting a change to the income, Covered California wants to know if anyone is pregnant. The only way to get around this is to select the Edit button and select Nobody from the household member selection.
If Bribes are a legitimate source of income for Medi-Cal why not for Covered California I thought? When I checked the 2016 Covered California Countable Sources of Income table, Bribes was suspiciously missing from the list. Why is Covered California hiding this significant source of income for many politicians from their consumers?
Covered California has made several changes to their income section both to the user interface and behind the scenes. In February, the income section of the online Covered California application was restyled to be more user friendly with little icons representing family members. Behind the scenes, new triggers for income verification were implemented. Plus, Covered California is trying to move away from consumers submitting affidavits and offering an income attestation form
Covered California has given their online health insurance enrollment system a serious make over with the release of the CalHEERS 17.2 build. Not only has the user interface been enhanced, members must now enter their employer’s contact information before they will be eligible for the monthly subsidy. In addition, Covered California will begin notifying a member’s employer when they enroll or renew their Covered California health insurance.
Millions of people have been enrolled into expanded Medi-Cal through Covered California based solely on their lack of income. Thousands of those same Medi-Cal beneficiaries went on to get jobs or other insurance and forgot to report this to their county Medi-Cal eligibility department. Many of these people fear they will have to repay Medi-Cal for the months they were really ineligible for the no cost health insurance. Do you have to repay Medi-Cal after your income increases and you were no longer eligible? The short answer is usually not.
I try to be pretty pragmatic when it comes to presidential elections. Regardless of the promises made by any candidate, we rarely see any real change in the U.S. with the election of a new president. However, Donald Trump ran on a platform to repeal and replace Obamacare. Since 90% of my income comes from enrollment generated by the Affordable Care Act, I am facing a drastic reduction of my income if Trump fulfills his promise.
For the first time in my life I can commiserate with people who are losing their livelihood because of a government action. Just as some workers have been displaced because the government outlawed a product, changed an environmental regulation, or enacted a trade deal that smothered their industry, I too am on the receiving end of government legislation that will decimate my income. If Obamacare is repealed and the subsidies that make health insurance affordable for millions of Americans ceases, I will lose 90% of my clients.
On March 7 Covered California updated their online enrollment program with adjustments to how changes to income are calculated, plus new required fields for attestations from former foster youth. The Covered California CalHEERS program was also updated with new federal poverty level (FPL) incomes. A significant update will affect children in San Mateo, San Francisco, and Santa Clara counties where the higher household income of 322% of the FPL makes more children 18 years and younger in those counties eligible for Medi-Cal.
Medi-Cal county eligibility workers continue to tamper with the estimated income of Covered California consumers. The result of these unauthorized adjustments to household income is families continue to get dumped into Medi-Cal with no warning. Covered California continues to allow these anonymous bureaucrats to make unauthorized income adjustments with notification to the member. These nameless and faceless bureaucrats, making sometimes life and death decisions about a families’ health insurance, are the embodiment of government power run amok that scared so many opponents of Obamacare.
One of the most important parts of the Covered California health insurance application is making sure that the household monthly and annual income is correct. Some consumers may encounter problems with incorrect income information through no fault of their own. As Covered California has updated and improved their CalHEERS online application, older information may get orphaned. This is the only explanation for a consumer whose Covered California account showed a negative monthly income, but a positive annual income.